September 12, 2005

A federal judge on September 6 issued a preliminary injunction that orders the New York State Consumer Protection Board to stop coercing cable or broadcast stations to pull or refuse to carry infomercials for author Kevin Trudeau's controversial best-selling book, Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About.  The court held that the Consumer Protection Board had violated Mr. Trudeau's First Amendment right to free speech by sending letters to broadcasters suggesting that the infomercials are misleading and "inviting" broadcasters to drop the infomercials.

Because Mr. Trudeau was seeking to enjoin the conduct of a government agency, U.S. District Judge Gary L. Sharpe required Mr. Trudeau to prove a "substantial likelihood" that his constitutional rights had been violated. The Consumer Protection Board argued that the infomercials were misleading, but the judge rejected that argument in granting the preliminary injunction.

"The decision vindicates an important First Amendment principle that advertisements for books and other publications may be entitled to the same core First Amendment protection as the books they promote," said Jenner & Block Partner David J. Bradford.  "As with books, it is for the market place of ideas, and not government, to decide what is true.  An advertisement for a book or publication may even make incorrect assertions as long as it reflects the content of the publication that it promotes," he said.  The case has drawn the attention of First Amendment lawyers throughout the country, and has received national media attention, including a discussion in a front page story in the Sunday New York Times.  "The case is also noteworthy," Mr. Bradford explained, "because the federal court found that a state agency could not engage in an informal scheme of censorship by pressuring broadcasters into dropping advertisements through the 'guise of moral persuasion.'"

In addition to Mr. Bradford, Mr. Trudeau's legal team included Jenner & Block Partners Daniel J. Hurtado, Andrew A. Jacobson and Daniel Mach.  The team also included Associates Eric Berger, Craig A. Cowie, Wade B. Gentz, Victoria H. Jueds, Luke C. Platzer, Shana A. Shifrin, Amy L. Tenney, Wade A. Thomson, and Andrew W. Vail.